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Oil prices have increased on account of expectations of the re-introduction of US sanctions against a major oil producer in Iran next month.

Other factors offering support to the prices include a dip in Venezuelan production and continuing strong demand from Asian markets.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 soared 27 cents, or 0.4%, to trade at $74.27 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased 14 cents, or 0.2%, to reach $68.19, according to Reuters.

In 2015, the US agreed to lift sanctions imposed on Iran by western countries in exchange for Iran abandoning its nuclear programme.

French President Emmanuel Macron expects US President Donald Trump to scrap the deal reached with Iran.

In this backdrop, traders speculate that the sanctions on Iran, which is a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), could be back.

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By GlobalData
“French President Emmanuel Macron expects US President Donald Trump to scrap the deal reached with Iran.”

The potential sanctions will impact oil exports from Tehran, and Trump is expected to arrive at a decision on the matter before 12 May this year.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s political and economic unrest has caused a significant drop in crude output.

The Latin American nation’s crude production PRODN-VE has declined from nearly 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2016 to around 1.5 million barrels per day.

However, oil prices continue to experience pressure from rising US production and crude stockpiles.

In the week ending 20 April, US crude oil inventories C-STK-T-EIA jumped 2.2 million barrels to 429.74 million barrels.

US crude production C-OUT-T-EIA witnessed a growth of 46,000 barrels per day over the the previous week to reach 10.59bpd.